Monday, April 21, 2008

Can Polyphony work with 140 singers?

I can't resist posting this video of the Victoria "O Quam Gloriosum" Sanctus, sung by the Colloquium choir of 140 from last year. One can only marvel at the ability of this music to expand and shrink according to resources and setting. Often the cathedrals for which this music was written had fewer than 10 singers, so it is often assumed that it cannot be sung with large choirs. I used to think it was true, just because it is said so often. I no longer believe it.

Also, this weekend we saw how Victoria sounds in a massive stadium in New York. It was splendid, so we can also forget about the claim that a Mass in a stadium requires drums and rock or whatever, to think of only one of the claims made in defense of the choices made for the unfortunate program chosen for that Mass in D.C.. Polyphony of the golden age is really mystically flexible. One might say it is universally and timelessly beautiful and sacred.

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